Yes, it’s been one of those weeks. You know the type of week where everything seems to be going wrong and you hardly have time to breathe, so much is being asked of you and it just doesn’t stop. And, in a continuation of what I was talking about the other day, I think I’m growing to love it when it’s like this. For someone who had no work experience a year ago, I’m in a really high level role with a lot of power, and all at once it is terrifying and stressful and thrilling. The rollercoaster of emotions that I thought would become less as the time went on, is becoming more every day. The ups and the downs are getting bigger. It feels like I’m being pushed along a very narrow train track, high up in the sky with massive drops on either side. I think I’m doing well, and so do other people.
It has been a week of complaints. Some of the really popular offers on the website have turned out not to be so great, and our customers don’t like it. Most of the time, it’s me who has to deal with that situation. On Tuesday alone I responded to 230 quite tricky e-mail enquiries. Not because I had to – I could have taken it more slowly and resolved like 100 and it would still have been a good effort, but I just wanted to get rid of all the enquiries in the queue. So today there are only about fifty new ones remaining, which is fantastic to end a week on. It has been hectic, tiring and very, very real. Every customer who sends an enquiry in to us is dissatisfied with our service in some way, and when you are literally the only person who can respond to that dissatisfaction, the only person who is expected to respond to it, it is ironically and bitterly empowering. A year ago I hated it, I thought I’d never get used to it. Today I’m so used to it, and perhaps so good at it that it’s a bit like breathing. Each breath, each customer complaint, is a bit less painful.
Tonight is the night before. Tomorrow we have our quarterly business meeting, where everyone gathers in the pub round the corner to learn about the company’s performance during the past three months. There’ll be Keynote slides, figures, facts, graphs and speeches; then there’ll be a quiz followed by a night out. I’ve been on the winning team in the quiz for the past two QBU’s in a row, so I have something of a reputation which is already attracting people to me. It’s the night out that I’m looking forward to. Dare I say it – I can’t wait. They’ve booked out one of the bars in Soho, for all of us until 3 in the morning. We’ve requested the songs that we want on the official DJ playlist. It’s going to be in Soho, my spiritual home! I’ll be with colleagues in a place that I love, dancing to great music and enjoying myself at the end of one of the most stressful weeks I’ve ever had.
The dangerous part is that there’s going to be a free bar, allegedly. I can’t deny that when I found out I felt a little twinge inside. I won’t have to stay there all night, but by God I bet I’ll want to. I’ve done so little dancing this year, I bet they’d have to drag me off the dancefloor. It will be the meeting of my two worlds: my working world and my ‘gay’ world. In my life, the two worlds very rarely meet; when they do, the prospect seems thrilling to me. Much like the whole week, I’m sure it will be a thrilling, scary, stressful and hugely significant night.
As always, the chances of me drinking tomorrow are very slim. Of course I can’t say with certainty what’s going to happen. But how silly would it be to throw away three years of sobriety for one night? Just because I’ll be with a bunch of drinking colleagues in a great bar where all the alcohol is free, I don’t have to let anything alcoholic pass my lips. There’d be no reason to drink. It should be fine. I’ll be getting all my own drinks, that’s for sure.
Being in Soho, there’s bound to be a ‘gay’ atmosphere. There’ll be ‘gay’ songs in the playlist, for sure. I could either do what I’ve done all year at work – keep quiet and tight-lipped, pretend I’m not really gay – or I could just let rip, like I know I really want to. I ought to, for God’s sake. Who says I can’t be camp as fuck on a Friday night in the gayest part of town? It scares me to think about showing these people who I really am, but on the other hand it’s a nice thought. Fuck, it’s a thrilling thought. I really don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow night, and it’s actually quite exciting.